Anti-election campaigning begins in Arakan State

Campaigns against the election proposed by Myanmar’s military regime have begun to unfold in Arakan State.

By Admin 03 Apr 2023

Anti-election campaigning begins in Arakan State

DMG Newsroom
3 April 2023, Sittwe

Campaigns against the election proposed by Myanmar’s military regime have begun to unfold in Arakan State.

Organised by the All Arakan Students’ & Youths’ Congress (AASYC), one campaign calls for a boycott of the poll, calling on the people of Arakan State to oppose the “sham election” and “free ourselves from the yoke of military rule.” 

The campaign features AASYC members sending messages via cellphones, as well as posting and distributing pamphlets at crowded and heavily trafficked places in the Arakan State capital Sittwe.

An AASYC official said: “We view the election to be organised by the military regime as bogus. The election to be held at this time is not democratic. They are trying to reactivate the 2008 Constitution. We are totally against it, and we will continue our campaign.”

The election being organised by the Myanmar military cannot fulfil the aspirations of the Arakanese people — equality and self-determination, as well as a federal, democratic Union — said the AASYC official.

“I was worried when I received a message about the election,” said a Sittwe resident who received an SMS message from the AASYC. “It might be sent by an organisation. No matter what the military regime is doing to organise the election, it is ultimately up to the people. Some people accept it and some reject it. It is up to the people themselves.”

The AASYC distributed anti-election pamphlets in a number of public places such as Strand Road and at BXT port on Saturday.

“The 2023 election will not solve the political, social, economic and developmental crises and armed conflicts facing Arakanese people, and will not even guarantee self-determination for Arakanese people,” reads the pamphlet.

Local people in Arakan State have little interest in the junta’s proposed poll, said former Lower House lawmaker U Aung Thaung Shwe of Buthidaung Township.

“The military views the election as the way out of the current political crisis. Whether an election can take place depends a lot on the current political situation, and public participation. We didn’t have a say when we were elected to the parliament. So, people have already lost interest in the election,” U Aung Thaung Shwe told DMG.

An election is unlikely considering the ongoing armed conflicts in the country, he added.

The regime has yet to announce a date for the poll, but the acting president of the parallel National Unity Government, Duwa Lashi La, has vowed to ensure the election does not take place.

A total of 63 political parties have registered with the junta-appointed Union Election Commission (UEC). The regime has dissolved 40 parties, including the National League for Democracy (NLD), which headed the civilian government that was ousted by the military in February 2021. 

Among the 63 parties that have registered, six are from Arakan State.